Frog Pile was a super simple raw edge fusible applique project back in 2003 (13 years ago, SAY WHAT?!) At the time I was playing with images I found on the internet, enlarging them in Microsoft Paint and then using MS Paint to erase the individual pixels of color until I had an outline only image (see how high tech I was, haha!) and printing them off for raw edge applique. It was my first baby steps into designing my own stuff, and as a way to experiment with fabric, form, and techniques. I saw this super cute Frog Pile picture, and being a total newbie to the world of art and copyright (read: had no clue about it at all) I went ahead and made this little quilt. It measures 8″ x 11″ and currently hangs in a frame in the home of a good friend. I always wanted to make another, and receive requests for the pattern all the time, but time being what it is, and not being a super organized teenager, I lost both the original image file and the templates I created from it.
From time to time I would search for “Frog Pile” on the internet, scouring through pages of images, but never coming up with the correct image.
Flash forward to 2016. I know much, MUCH more about the art world, copyright, and I fully believe in and do credit my sources and inspirations. I also know a lot more about derivative works. And I get a lot of comments on my Frog Pile quilt, and requests for a pattern.
A derivative work is a work based on or derived from one or more already exist- ingworks. Common derivative works include translations, musical arrange- ments, motion picture versions of literary material or plays, art reproductions, abridgments, and condensations of preexisting works. – www.copyright.gov This website has a very informative PDF, clicking the link will take you straight to it.
So how does this apply to Frog pile? Well, I received another pattern request this last week, and I tried an internet search again. AND I FOUND IT! On a number of resources. The first is a counted cross stitch pattern released from Design Works. The second is a digital image uploaded to Photobucket by a user simblesimble. Neither has a date of production on it, but the cross stitch artist, Royce B. McClure, does have a copyright on the design. I went ahead and purchased the kit, because I love it so much.
Now, for reference, I once created a dragon quilt based on a Teresa Wentzler cross stitch pattern and entered it in a local quilt show (2004). I emailed her, and she said that the quilt was a derivative work, so as long as I credited the original, then it was okay. The reason it is derivative is because the design medium is different from the original work. If I had gone ahead and made a cross stitch of the same work, especially without crediting the original artist, then would be a copyright violation.
This is all very general, as the world of copyright in art and design has some very concrete and some very obtuse legalese that makes the whole thing seem like a big ol’ grey area. I have even attended lectures from a lawyer about copyright who said that even the information presented was not 100% concrete. It makes things messy in the art world, and is a huge topic of debate and misinformation in the quilting world. I certainly do not know enough about it to ever be quoted as a source, and this is not intended as legal advise. Please make sure you do your own research and ALWAYS give credit, and respect individual artists works.
So, that all being said, Frog Pile is considered a derivative work. I cannot, and will not, create a marketable a pattern from it, not even to give away, because I strongly believe that would fall under a copyright violation and I don’t want to take any chances. I can, however, provide you with a source to purchase your own Frog Pile kit if you ever wanted to make your own derivative quilt from it, and encourage you to do so.
In Canada – Amazon.ca
In the US – Joanne.com
And of course you can always Google search your own sources.
If you like to cross stitch, I also recommend visiting Teresa Wentzlers site and having a look at the gorgeous art and patterns she has available. I am lucky enough to own her book and a pair of her patterns.
5 thoughts on “The Frog Pile Quilt- A Derivative Work”
You’re 100% correct that selling a pattern designed from another would be a copyright violation; it would be no different than someone writing a book called Trilight about vampires that glow in the dark and going out and selling it, except that the writer would probably have a better shot at claiming parody than the pattern-maker would. Selling the resulting quilt would also be a violation.
The gray area of modifying something for your own use does tend to favor the person doing the modifying in certain circumstances. That protects actions like copying a pattern to enlarge it, and is generally seen to protect personal-use translations from one medium to another as long as there is no profit or claim of ownership involved. Giving the result away rather than selling it is not protection, by the way; by giving it away, you’d be asserting the right to do so, which is a claim of ownership (ie, I can’t walk into my neighbor’s house and start giving away their stuff; I don’t own it, so that’s theft even if I don’t make any money).
It is a cloudy and jumbled area in most creative fields; I hope this helps a little!
Very helpful, thank you!!
I love youre frog quilt
You know the saying everthing is new again
People should open their eyes a nd just enjoy life
Great that you do keep on sewing
I love your Radiance quilt pattern using Free Spirit’s Slow and Steady fabric collection on Craftsy. Will the pattern be available for sale without the fabric? I would love to try it with some other fabrics.
Hi June, the pattern will eventually become a free pattern from FreeSpirit, but that can take a while. Be patient, and thank yoU!